First Person: The Graphic Novel- Evaluation

Finishing my Novel was most definitely a challenge. Although, it was during this project that I found a lot out about myself. Struggling with time management was most definitely the major issue with this project, as I had such a grand idea and wanted to do so much, yet just couldn’t handle the amount of time given. It was during this that I discovered the reason I had such a hard time understanding how to control time, and that was the presence of ADHD. Unfortunately, it was too late into this project that I managed to take the step towards getting diagnosed which lead to my novel suffering.

Fortunately, as I was granted a chance to finish my novel in a retrieval, I ensured to get it scrubbed up to a level I would be happy to show in public.

Now that the issue which effected this project is under control, I will be moving on ensuring to take back the amount of passion and excitement in approaching my projects.

Although this project was most definitely a difficult one, it has been a lot of fun. Creating comics is a hobby of mine, so be able to bring it into a project was completely exhilarating.

One main thing I would change about the final outcome if I could, would be to get a software made for novel making, as I discovered photoshop has a feature which makes comic/ graphic novel making more approachable, I would like to experiment with that more in the future.

Overall, I found this quite a life changing project, both in regaining my passion for comic making, but also facing problems and overcoming them by discovering more about myself.

A selection of a few of my favourite panels/ panels which I believe have the most importance or aesthetic stimulation are placed below. Thank you for following me on my journey of creating this comic.

First Person: The Graphic Novel- Showing metaphor and finalising panels.

So far I have found the process of digitally colouring my illustrations to be quite enjoyable, as the handiness of it is impeccable. When taking the images into Photoshop, I selected the layer that the photo of my illustration is on and selected the multiply tool in order to remove the white in the image, therefore allowing me to create a layer beneath the illustration to colour under the line art yet on top of the white. I also add more definition to the line art by using the ink took in photoshop and drawing over a few of the lines. I took a photo mid process to illustrate the method in progress:

I decided that I wanted a limited colour palette which still had enough potential to create semi- realism images. This is so the images could hold a lot more connection to the readers, and allow them to feel as though they are part of the same world as the main character.

I am going to do close up of hands in my novel, to illustrate the metaphor of the artists hands being stolen/ non existent once their art is perceived as belonging to someone else. As unless you claim your work online in a clear manner, it is easy for someone to get there before you and claim your work as their own if you are not careful enough. The melting/ disintegrating hands will also show how the artists suffer by others selfishness in trying to receive popularity on social media by discrediting work of artists who put their heart and soul into their creations.

I am now starting to put together the pages of the novel using Microsoft PowerPoint. Now, I know this software is not made for creating novel panels, although, as I currently am not able to leave my desk space (due to medical reasons) I have adapted to using it to create my novel.

I believe it is working well. The only downside I have found to using it so far is the fact that it is potentially impossible to cut the frames (the illustrations) in a shape that is not square/ rectangle like. Although, I can add text that goes outside of the frame, which still offers the break of reality illusion, which theoretically draws the reader in further, as it appears reality and the novel world are combining.

First Person: The Graphic Novel- Working on Mixed Media.

Visiting and viewing a collection from the artists book selection available in my university allowed me to gain a lot of inspiration.

I quite enjoyed seeing the difference offered between traditional and digital media, offering the illusion of two different worlds. This is an important aspect to the story I wish to tell through my novel, as I would like to show first of all the evolution of art, as it is becoming a very digital world. Not only in the art sense, but in communications, running businesses and the danger zone of art theft as the software available makes art theft a lot easier now than it would have been in the past.

This made me decide to make the first/ past scene in traditional media and the current/ future scenes in digital media, to show that change in tradition.

The traditional pieces were done with fineliners, brush pens and alcohol based markers. I used these particular materials as the hatch marking with the fine liners gives a more aesthetically pleasing value in the sense of it being hand drawn and authentic, yet the markers have an almost digital sense to it, allowing a slight connection between the traditional and digital world, which results in a smoother transition.

The first 2 pages of the novel are going to include hand drawn panels, as shown below:

Although I will also be working in digital, I have drawn the foundations in brush pen in order to produce the digital imagery faster, as I find that I sketch faster in traditional media. Some sketches are also shown below:

I will be taking these illustrations into Adobe Photoshop and Paint tool SAI in order to add colour and texture.

First Person Graphic Novel: Brainstorming.

Creating a novel takes a lot of thought, as there are so many components which are ESSENTIAL to be able to call an outcome a ‘Graphic Novel’. This means coming up with a story line, a message, character design, colour palettes, textures and more. This post will attempt to narrow down my brainstorming for this novel into as simplistic of a description possible; mainly due to the story line.

As an Illustrator, it is my job to display messages, conflict emotions and provoke responses from an audience. Therefore, this novel’s aim is to involve my key roles.

I have decided on my main message I would like to convey through my story line. This is art theft/ how it effects creativity. I have already come to a potential way to illustrate this event in the novel (without any dialogue). I thought up a metaphor of the artists hands disintegrating- this depicting the true worker/ hands of the worker almost being non existent and not appreciated. The disintegration is to show the work gone into the piece not being recognised/ being taken advantage of.

I would also like to include both traditional and digital media in my comic. Traditional media to show the past tense, and digital to show present/ future tense (as digital is constantly growing in popularity due to the aesthetic and the fact you can almost forge a traditional aesthetic through use of textures etc).

Therefore the main theme/ aim of my novel is to depict how art theft is affecting the art community. I got this idea from my recent essay I wrote in university discussing true creativity in art. I realised that I had not discussed art theft/ forgery and wished to include that in this project.

It is also aiming to touch upon how only if you are truly recognised and considered a ‘well known’ or famous artist are you most safe from this.. yet there is still potential for work to be taken.

My general story line is as so:

  1. Main Character glimpse/ background introduction.
  2. Main Character present time view of world.
  3. Meeting secondary character.
  4. First sign of art theft from background character stealing from secondary
  5. Metaphor introduced
  6. Notice surrounding background characters effected by art theft.
  7. Run back to safe place.
  8. Begin to make novel (my novel) to try and make their world aware
  9. An Illustration is stolen/ Main character effected/ hand disintegrating
  10. End.

Brainstorming a potential main character in different styles.

I quite like the idea of a yellow checkered coat as it isn’t a common item of clothing yet it is toned down enough to fit into a world, allowing the character to stand out amongst background characters yet also managing to fit in to a regular world design. I would like my graphic novel to be in-between the styles of my regular and the ‘quick drawing’ style. This is because I find them the cleanest yet the most effective.

The bun hair style also allows me to show a large amount of the character’s face, which will allow me to show expressions to a greater clarity.

First Person Graphic Novel: Research into Reference.

Fortunately, I have always been quite the secret fan of novels and comics, so hide a small collection where no one can see them. The main reason I have collected comics is simply for the art (and of course the dramatic story lines). This is because I find novels to be one of the best sources of figure/ pose referencing due to the amount of emotions and activities taking place in a single story line.

Marvel has most definitely been one of the pinnacle reasons I became so interested with art, so I intended for this project to almost inform myself of how much marvel and graphic novels have influenced my work.

One thing that definitely struck me when re-visiting these comics is how no one person has worked on these comics. This concerns me due to the clear amount of work that will have to go into this novel. I am unsure what standard it will be up to in order to complete it in time. To explain, in the ‘MS. MARVEL’ comic shown on the far right of the above image, there were 8 people who worked on the final outcome.






STEPHEN SAJDAK: Project Manager

MARK BASSO: Assistant Editor


Above are all the individuals who worked on that single comic. Although would clearly cause some apprehension about approaching the topic, I am also looking forward to it. As it shows I will be dipping in to many different techniques of working within Illustration.

Ms Marvel is my main reference point for this project. This is because I find the imagery to be highly effective and the transition from one image to another to be near flawless, due to the utilisation of each page in the comic:

Blue toned Page from MS. MARVEL comic.

The overlapping borders gives dimension to the page, allowing the user to feel as though they are peering into a place they shouldn’t be… ‘looking beyond the page’ is the common saying. The imagery is also very stylised. Not many comics look like this as the line art is usually more bold, and there is less text. MS. MARVEL comic managed to have an original style, although when it comes to me making my comic, I’d quite like to experiment with a no dialogue comic. To allow the imagery to do all the talking. As the top illustration in the novel page above displayed such strong emotion, I would like each panel to be equally as gripping.

I would also like a consistent colour theme to avoid over-complicating the imagery and therefore loosing the reader’s attention as each page of the MS MARVEL comic has followed a colour scheme. Although the colours may change,the page is consistently following a particular tone:

Pink toned Page from MS. MARVEL Comic.

I would like to try and use this method in my comic to ensure that it contains a style and flow to match that of other novels and therefore fits within it’s community/ format.

Whilst reading through the novel I also found many sound effects. Some written in ways that you would not expect. I would also like to use this in my novel as I enjoyed how it engaged the reader into working out the pronunciation and playing it alongside the image to get a true sense of place and realism.

The typography used in the comic also seems to be quite thematic due to the consistent fonts in dialogue and then different yet still consistent texts used in the sound effects. I will also be taking this tool into my own novel creation.

Artists Books Collection

In order to gain inspiration for this project, our project leader (Chris Glynn) managed to book us in to view the University’s artists books collection.

During this visit I found so many interesting methods and layering of papers and medias that I had not seen before.

One book in particular that stood out to me amongst the collection was the book called ‘Sinbiba’.

The reason this book stood out to me was the layering of papers, almost creating an ‘onion skin’ effect. I found it captivating not only due to the aesthetic effect the paper offered, but also the feeling of the paper changing throughout the book. The changing of papers made me curious as to what would be on the next page, and the page after that and so on.

Due to the intriguing effect the layering of paper gives, I would like to experiment with this method within my own novel.

First Person: The Graphic Novel – Intro.

How I ended up in First Person:

The first field project of year two I have selected is First Person: The Graphic Novel. Initially I was placed on a field group entitled “Space is the Animated Place”, although I found that the group that I was placed into were not reliable and knew that the work I would have produced within the group would not be up to standard.

From the get go in Space is the Animated Place, the animator and graphic designer within my group (bare in mind that this field option particularly homes in on the animation art form) stated that they thought I should curate all of the work as I am an Illustrator, thus have the largest understanding of all the art forms.

This rung alarm bells as I was carrying the group for the first day. I was concerned about the stress and workload I would have to carry upon myself, thus made the decision to switch field groups as I was not granted the option to join a different group within Space is the Animated Place.

I found First Person to be intriguing once I read the brief, as I have always enjoyed creating short comic strips/ anime stories, so was curious to see what I could create in a Graphic Novel with my new understanding of my practice within illustration from learnt tools from year 1.

My First Lesson:

To begin the venture into the unknown world of what it takes to create a successful graphic novel, we started by unpacking the novel collection “The Smartest Kid on Earth” by Chris Ware. This novel in particular has been described as the best graphic novel ever written so is a great reference point for the duration of this project.

Illustrative Photo Cards laid on table for Inspiration.

We also carried out some creative writing exercises which allowed us to place ourselves in a scene which we could use in a graphic novel. I found this vital to my creative input of the idea generation for my novel as I feel in touch with the story. This helps set the scene in terms of emotion and setting as it improves my description skills.

Finally, I went to the library to rummage through the graphic novel aisle and take out three different novels to use as inspiration and research whilst carrying out this project. The three books I chose were: ‘The Smartest Kid on Earth’, ‘Quimby the Mouse’ and ‘Wonder Woman: The Complete History’. I chose these particular books as they are not novels as such, but discuss the most effective pages and stories occurring in each of the novels, which I believe to be highly useful as I am still trying to decide on a story line for my novel.

I feel a lot more confident with this field group than my initial choice of Space is the Animated Place. I look forward to what this project has to offer next.